New ‘mini’ MINI - Most Wanted Cars 2014

The next model in our 10 Most Wanted Cars feature is a mini MINI, a car to take the brand back to its roots. Here’s how it could look…

In days gone by the Mini – as the name suggests – was a miniscule British city car that was cheap to make and buy. Sales were initially slow, but the Mk I’s fame grew throughout the Sixties, winning over the public and celebrities alike. When we asked our readers which fantasy car they most wanted to see built, an old school mini MINI was a big favourite. 

Best city cars to buy now

The MINI brand is, of course, now owned by BMW and the first new BMW MINI launched back in 2000. It followed the original by going from strength to strength but has expanded in size over the years, moving away from the core values of its ancestor. 

A growing MINI line-up that includes a crossover, estate and Coupe/Roadster has helped boost sales, but aficionados continue to point out the lack of a true mini MINI city car in the current range.

This dream model would take the brand back to its roots, reducing size and weight to closely match the original. Despite clear public interest, so far the closest our collective wish has come to reality was when the MINI Rocketman concept appeared at 2011’s Geneva Motor Show.

At 3,419mm long and 1,907mm wide, the baby MINI Rocketman was about 40cm longer and 50cm wider than the original – despite the small dimensions, there was apparently room for four adults thanks to a clever seating layout. Getting in and out was made a whole lot easier too, owing to the double-hinged doors that allowed for a wider opening.

While the firm had stated a commitment to making sure its concepts reached production, the plan was sadly canned due to high costs, although it still provides the best insight into how such a new model might look.

If technical and financial issues can be resolved at some point in the not-too-distant future, there’s no reason why a mini MINI couldn’t be a huge sales hit. The brand hinted at a compact city car with its Rocketman concept in 2011, but a spokesman has told us a production version is unlikely, adding: “It was nothing more than a concept car.” 

Production chances: 2/5

Mini (1959 – 2000): history

The Mini is one of the most loved cars the world has ever seen with its effervescent character and the unmistakable lines by Sir Alex Issigonis carving it a permanent niche in global popular culture. 

The little car’s soaring popularity also contributed to an epic production run that saw the first Mini roll off the line in 1959 under the stewardship of BMC and the last built by Rover in 2000. 

There are three core Mini variants, the Mk1 car was built until 1967 when the Mk2 took over with largely cosmetic alterations. Around 429,000 Mk2 Minis were built up until the Mk3 was launched in 1969.

The Mk3 was a much more comprehensive refresh with larger doors to aid access and wind-down windows in place of the sliding items on the early cars. There were also further packages of changes brought in 1976 (Mk4), 1984 (Mk5), 1990 (Mk6) and 1996 (Mk7) but none strayed too far from the original Mini design. The last Mini was built at Longbridge in 2000. 

Don't forget to tell us what you think of the idea of a new Mini on Twitter, on Facebook or in the comments section below...

Auto Express Most Wanted Cars

1. MGB Roadster2. Lancia Delta Integrale3. Ford Capri4. Alfa Romeo Montreal5. Mazda RX-76. Ford Focus RS Cosworth7. Saab 9008. 'mini' MINI9. Volvo P180010. Citroen 2CV

Recommended

New one-off MINI Strip unveiled in collaboration with Paul Smith
MINI Strip by Paul Smith - front
MINI

New one-off MINI Strip unveiled in collaboration with Paul Smith

The custom-built MINI Electric features lots recycled materials in an effort to shine the spotlight on sustainable car design 
12 Aug 2021
MINI Vision Urbanaut turned into working concept car
MINI Urbanaut - front
MINI

MINI Vision Urbanaut turned into working concept car

The MINI Vision Urbanaut is a driveable, radical concept, which previews some interior touches coming on next-generation MINI Hatch
29 Jun 2021
Best 60s cars: the 30 greatest cars of the 1960s
Best cars of the 60s - header
Best cars & vans

Best 60s cars: the 30 greatest cars of the 1960s

The swinging sixties brought a vast array of unforgettable cars that would establish the path of the industry for decades to come. We pick our top 30 …
21 Jun 2021
LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021

Most Popular

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released
Number plates
News

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released

Latest DVLA list of banned UK registrations reveals which 71-plates are too rude for the road
21 Sep 2021
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES

The Genesis G80 looks to make an impact in the executive saloon class as we pitch it against the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus ES
18 Sep 2021
'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021